October 10, 2013 - 17:11 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Election monitors from two European organizations - the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) - have offered strikingly different preliminary assessments of the October 9 presidential election in Azerbaijan, RFE/FL said.
According to preliminary results, incumbent President Ilham Aliyev won a third term in a landslide.
Observers from the pan-European rights OSCE watchdog have said the election was marred by significant problems and shortcomings.
The OSCE monitoring mission told a news conference in Baku on October 10 that problems were observed "throughout all stages of election-day processes."
Long-term OSCE monitoring-mission head Tana de Zulueta said voting procedures in 11 percent of polling stations failed to meet international standards. Vote-counting procedures were rated substandard at 58 percent of the polling stations.
Michel Voisin, special coordinator for the OSCE's short-term mission, praised the large number of candidates and citizen election monitors, but emphasized the shortcomings of the process.
"We have observed serious problems throughout the election process -- more or less -- in certain areas," Voisin said. "It is necessary to point them out so that Azerbaijan respects fully the OSCE rules in the future [for] sincere and democratic elections."
In addition, the OSCE team criticized the fact that the entire campaign lasted just 21 days.
The OSCE will publish its final report in the next few weeks. The OSCE monitoring mission comprised some 390 observers from 42 countries.
However, a separate joint observer mission of the PACE and the European Parliament issued a statement saying that the poll was transparent and democratic, despite continuing serious problems with freedom of speech.
In a press conference in Baku on October 10, the head of the European Parliament's delegation, Pino Arlacchi, said there was no pressure on voters and no police presence at polling stations.
With nearly 80 percent of the October 9 vote counted, electoral authorities said incumbent Aliyev had nearly 85 percent of the vote, putting him on track for a landslide reelection to a third five-year term.
The results showed the candidate of the united opposition, Camil Hasanli, with around just 5 percent.
Hasanli has accused the authorities of vote fraud and ballot stuffing, saying the "total falsification of elections is a brutal violation of people’s right to elections."
Western-based human rights groups, citing government crackdowns on independent media, nongovernmental organizations, and opposition supporters, said there were no conditions in Azerbaijan for a free and fair election.